Banner Health Foundation awards money to Arizona programs

The Banner Health Foundation board of directors voted to award a collective $4.5 million to 14 programs and services across Banner’s medical centers in Arizona.

“We exist to take care of people,” Andy Kramer Petersen, President and CEO of the foundation, said. “Banner is uniquely positioned so that when we have a program or proven concept [we can] spread it out across our entire footprint. [So] really the entire state benefits.”

The foundation awards funds through its annual ‘Highest and Best Use Awards program,’ which invites Banner division leaders to submit funding proposals for a range of programs and services.

According to Petersen, “leaders from Arizona are able to submit a proposal for work that they’re trying to accomplish, and it goes through a review process. [The] Banner Health Foundation board of directors [are] looking for innovation, they’re looking for unmet needs, they’re looking for programs that can sustain over time.”

The programs awarded funding include community outreach programs, initiatives that are helping emerging health needs, as well as, programs that provide clinician training, education, and well-being.

Todd Werner, Arizona President for Community Health Delivery, who helps with reviewing the submissions, said the program that resonates the most with him is the Banner Children’s Community Clinics.

The Banner Children’s Community Clinics has several locations on school campuses in the Metro-Phoenix area as well as a mobile clinic that travels to schools to provide children with medical care. Banner awarded the program $600,000.  

“The work that we do within that space for a lot of the kids really is the difference between them having access to some level of regular health care or not,” Werner said. “But I think all of the programs that our foundation generously funded are just really impactful.”

The foundation also awarded money to the Banner Thunderbird Medical Center for its work providing safe, compassionate, respectful and age-appropriate care to pediatric and adolescent behavioral health patients; Diamond Children’s Medical Center and Cardon Children’s Medical Center, which specializes in Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy; and its partnership with the Arizona Asthma Coalition to provide inhalers and medical kits to public schools in Maricopa and Pima counties.

Banner Thunderbird is working to provide a friendlier environment for pediatric and adolescent patients who come to urgent cares seeking help.

“What ends up happening at times is they end up needing to wait in our emergency department for a place to accept them,” Werner said about the program. “A typical [emergency room] setting is not designed for somebody to wait for many, many hours. So, this money is designed to be able to take a portion of our emergency department and make it more conducive for the adolescent and pediatric patient that may stay there a much more extended amount of time.”

It will allow children to socialize, interact and participate in guided activities while waiting for further treatment.

It was awarded $144,000.

Diamond Children’s Medical Center and Cardon Children’s Medical Center are working to address the emerging problem of Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy (PAE) among children.

“They have an autoimmune reaction after they’ve had an infection and this autoimmune reaction can make them quite ill in a chronic way, over an extended period of time and be quite debilitating,” Warner said. “Diamond Children’s and the academic division of Banner down in Tucson…have partnered…and are bringing clinics that specialize in this postinfectious autoimmune encephalopathy disease here to the metro-Phoenix area and these funds are helping us get that set of clinics here in Phoenix.”

According to University of Arizona’s PAE Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy Center, PAE is “a condition where an infection triggers an autoimmune reaction that targets the brain, leading to changes in the neurologic function, mood, and behavior.”

The program was awarded $250,000.

Banner is also partnering with the Arizona Asthma Coalition to provide inhalers and medical kits to public schools in Maricopa and Pima counties.

According to the Arizona Asthma Coalition, Asthma affects the lives of more than 615,000 Arizonans and almost 100 residents die every year because of it.

“We saw a good thing going on, we saw it had potential to make a difference in the lives of children and we said ‘yes, that’s some space where we can help with some dollars, we think it’s going to make a big impact’ and that’s what we’ve done,” Werner said.

It was awarded $95,000.

The full list of award recipients includes:

Community Outreach Programs:

  • $900,000 will support the Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect (SCAN) program in the Valley and expand it to Tucson. Spanning nine campuses in the Valley, SCAN is a network of providers charged with identifying and caring for abused and neglected children who present for medical care in a Banner medical facility or Emergency department. Through in-person and telephonic consultations available 24/7, front-line providers are educated on how to properly identify and address child abuse and neglect.

  • $600,000 will support operations of the Banner Children’s Community Clinics, serving some 3,000 uninsured and underinsured pediatric patients each year with free primary care services via a mobile clinic and office locations in Mesa and Tolleson.

  • $256,000 will support the Dementia Care Partners pilot program for those caring for people with dementia. Services will include in-home and phone support, health coaching supervised by social workers, and assessment of mood, behavior, and cognition of the patient while tracking the stress and burden level of caregivers.

  • $95,000 will provide life-saving emergency rescue inhalers and medical kits to public schools in Maricopa and Pima counties through a partnership with the Arizona Asthma Coalition.
  • $54,000 will allow the Banner Olive Branch Senior Center in Sun City to purchase a new refrigerated truck for its Food Delivery Program. The truck will join a fleet that picks up 1 million pounds of product annually from 31 stores to provide meals to food-insecure senior citizens and to 21 nonprofits assisting the hungry.

  • $47,112 will support the Safety Town injury prevention program, an interactive, pop-up, 3-D town on a mobile bus designed to simulate life-saving lessons for children, teens, parents, and grandparents. Safety Town visits schools and events to offer education and hands-on activities related to drowning prevention, gun safety, poisoning prevention, sun protection, fire safety, distracted driving, and anti-bullying.

Emerging Health Needs:

  • $450,000 will provide early funding to develop the Center for Clinical Outcomes Research Analytics, or CORA, within Banner Health. Through the implementation of two key technological advancements, Automation, and Advanced Predictive Analytics, Banner can improve health outcomes for millions of Arizonans by preventing relapse, avoiding extensive hospitalization, and ensuring the fastest and most efficient use of resources through technological innovation.

  • $405,000 will support a pilot program at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, known as the Legerity Program, designed to prompt weight reduction in a health-positive, non-stigmatizing, affirming manner as a primary means to prevent progression of related diseases.

  • $250,000 will support two Arizona clinics at Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson and Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, specializing in Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy, or CPAE: a family of often misdiagnosed, acute-onset neuropsychiatric disorders affecting 25,000 to 40,000 Arizona children.

  • $144,000 will reconfigure space at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center to provide safe, compassionate, respectful and age-appropriate care for approximately 90 pediatric and adolescent behavioral health patients presenting each month in its Emergency Department, many of whom are in crisis and face long wait times for admission to a treatment center.

  • Some 60 percent of Arizona children have tooth decay, compared to the national average of 36 percent. $96,000 will support a one-year pilot program at the Family Medicine Center at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix to apply topical fluoride varnish to children age 5 and younger to reduce tooth decay rates and create significant cost savings in dental and hospital care.

Clinician Training, Education and Well-Being:

  • National studies show that 50 percent of physicians and 30 percent of nurses suffer from a psychological condition known as burnout, marked by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, feelings of low achievement and decreased effectiveness—creating a public health crisis that stands to jeopardize patient care and the lives of our care providers. $1 million will support four separate mind-body wellness and resiliency programs across Banner, each designed to enhance the health and well-being of care providers.

  • $160,000 will train Emergency department staff at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson to provide comprehensive medical services for sexual assault victims, including forensic processing, victim education and resources, and survivor care. Upon demonstration of feasibility, federal grant support to maintain this program will become available.

  • Training in end-of-life care is not typically part of standard medical education. $25,000 will purchase the Hospice and Palliative Care Essentials Library developed by Relias Learning, and cover the cost of training and certifying all Banner Hospice and Palliative Care clinicians by ELNEC: End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium.

Emily Richardson

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